“I have a stupid question…can I even vote for you?”
This phrase passes the lips of 75% of people I encounter when talking with them about the upcoming 2020 election and believe me friends…it is NOT a stupid question.
Political races, especially “down-ballot” races, are mysterious and often paid little attention to by the average constituent, but I invite you to shift your perspective and I’ll provide you some insight on just how to do that.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “downticket” or “down-ballot” race as one where “a candidate is a candidate for an office listed below the most important (typically national) office on the ballot.”
Ever been to the polls and voted for your presidential preference but nothing else because you felt uninformed about the particular office or the issue? You, my friend, chose to not vote “down-ballot” and there is no shame in that game because you aren’t alone.
My hope is to help shift that behavior by providing you some insight into how you can pay closer attention to what is happening locally, how to identify your district for various races, and then getting you signed up to vote-by-mail so that you can take your time in researching the best candidates from your perspective to get the job done.
Amelia Rosser, my beloved friend and campaign manager, has often talked about hosting an event called “KNOW…YOUR…DISTRICT!” (so credit for the title of this post totes goes to her) and I’m still convinced that it’s a brilliant idea. Consider this blog post a step-by-step guide in gathering the information you need to be a successful constituent in your own district if you live in Douglas County. (If you don't search Google for the Election Commission of your particular county and follow steps similar to those listed below.)
Your first step is to visit: http://www.votedouglascounty.com/. Once on the page, identify your particular voting districts by entering your address house number and zip code.
Several addresses may appear. Select your address then take a look at the various offices that you are able to vote for.
My husband Justin and I recently went on a drive to see just how far Omaha Public Schools Subdistrict 7 (the office I'm running for) spans. We printed out the map and went to town. The OPS Subdistrict 7 boundaries map can be found here: http://www.votedouglascounty.com/maps/OPSsubdistrict7.pdf
The trip around the perimeter of OPS Subdistrict 7 took us nearly 40 minutes to drive (it’s no longer a shock to my system that I have 10,000 doors to knock before our primary in May of 2020).
We cruised through the streets of Hanscom Park (our neighborhood) to the southern border of 29th street just west of Interstate 480 to Vinton Street. We move further south to “F” Street, darting all the way to 72nd Street. We head north to Pacific and then again move east to 55th Street, navigating our way through portions of the UNMC campus, Blackstone, Midtown Crossing, the historic Gold Coast neighborhood, and back to the southern edge of the Interstate, on 29th street, just south of 480 again but this time, at Dodge.
At the end of the day, I am running to serve a large slice of the midtown neighborhood of Omaha. Once again, I will likely vote by mail so that I can truly take my time in researching the candidates and issues prior to casting my vote. To follow my lead in voting from home, check out the following page and register to do the same: http://www.votedouglascounty.com/early_voting.aspx
I may wind up hitting the polls in real life…I love getting those “I voted today” stickers and I certainly want to have one from the day I cast a vote for myself. If I choose to vote in person, I can also review a sample ballot for my address by visiting the following link and checking out the candidates and issues ahead of time: http://www.votedouglascounty.com/sample_ballots.aspx
I can make notes on my phone and bring them with me into the ballot box as I "pencil" in the circles to cast my vote. Regardless of HOW you vote, it's important that you do and I hope I've armed you with some helpful resources as you approach another important election year.